Six Degrees of Separation: The Novella Edition!

Six Degrees of Separation is the brain child of Kate over at Books Are My Favourite and Best where we all start with the same book and see where our links take us!

Follow the hashtag #6degrees on Twitter to check out everyone else’s literary journey.

This month all my links are going to be novellas (or books under 200 pages) in keeping with the spirit of Novellas in November!

This month, the chain is a wild card where you start with the book you’ve ended a previous chain with, and continue from there.

The last book of my chain last month was JR by William Gaddis, which, at 784 pages is definitely NOT a novella!

JR tells the story of the eponymous J R Vansant – an 11-year-old schoolboy who is the latchkey child of a nurse and an absent father- who manages to build a complex corporate empire from the payphone in his elementary school in Massapequa, Long Island. The novel is a Swiftian satire on the American Dream.

A more cautionary tale about the American Dream is The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. The story of the wealthy and decadent Jay Gatsby and his obsessive love for Daisy Buchanan, The Great Gatsby is often considered to be one of the greatest American novels ever written. At the heart of the novel is a car accident, which will set in motion a series of event that will affect all the character lives.

A car accident is also at the heart of Bonjour Tristesse, the audacious debut novel by Francoise Sagan. Published when she was just eighteen, the novella is a tale of adolescence and betrayal set over a summer holiday in the French Riviera.

Tragedy shadows another holiday in Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice. Aschenbach, an elderly and renowned writer, loses his dignity and carefully structured way of life when he unexpectedly become obsessed with an adolescent boy whilst on holiday in Venice.

An inappropriate relationship between an older man and a young boy is the focus of Apt Pupil by Stephen King, which explores the seductive power of evil. Todd Bowden learns that his elderly neighbour was a Nazi working in the death camps. Todd vows not to turn him in, instead he wants to learn from him, but what he learns soon turns him to violence of his own.

Both Apt Pupil and A Clockwork Orange by a scene where a homeless man is beaten up. In Burgess’s classic story, fifteen year old Alex and his gang like ultraviolence, Beethoven and drinking at the Korona Milk Bar. Part dystopian horror, part dark comedy, A Clockwork Orange was adapted for the screen by Stanley Kubrick. Anthony Burgess famously came to hate the film, and as a consequence, his book, for its glorification of violence.

Another author who hated the film adaptation of their book, was PL Travers, author of Mary Poppins. She didn’t like the animated sequences, felt it was too sentimental and considered Julie Andrews too pretty to play the eponymous nanny!

So there we have it, one door-stopper and six books under 200 pages that take us from a school boy businessman to a magical nanny!

Next month (December 5, 2020), we’ll begin with a book that is celebrating its 50th birthday this year – Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume.

Six Degrees

Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

22 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I cannot believe it’s another first Saturday again already! I haven’t participated in a #6degrees for ages, simply because I lose track of time and miss the beginning of each new month!
    Nice use of novellas though 🙂


  2. I love The Great Gatsby and Death in Venice. I have Bonjour Tristesse on my stack for this month, and it’s so short that I have no reason not to get to it. I had no idea the author was so young when it was published!


      • Ah, well it’s good. It was published in a collection, Different seasons, containing four novellas. Three have been adapted to films titled Apt pupil, The Shawshank redemption (“Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank redemption”), and Stand by me (“The body”). The fourth is I think going to be adapted.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Fun chain – I also like the juxtaposition of Clockwork Orange and Mary Poppins. Of these books, I have only read Gatsby and Mary Poppins but I think I’d like to read Bonjour Tristesse.

    I used to work for Stephen King’s publisher. My colleagues said it was bad politics not to read any of his books so I read one. It wasn’t awful but definitely not my thing. He seemed very nice but his agent always gave us a hard time about selling more books.

    Liked by 1 person

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